Things have calmed down in APAC North this week following the thrilling match between CAG and DWG KIA last week that may have determined the Major qualification. Six of the eight teams are tied for third place, though, and the situation is as tense as ever.
Beginning the tournament will be a match between Fnatic and FAV Gaming, the latter of whom has had a difficult 2021 and 2022. Fnatic has rediscovered some form with a 7-4 victory over REJECT last week despite three changes this stage. FAV are still searching for their first points this stage.
The Last Week Recap
After last week’s victory over DWG, CAG will be seeking to win again this week in order to generate momentum before their next difficult test against SANDBOX in week six. However, REJECT will always have a chance to pull off an unexpected victory given how they shocked SANDBOX in week one and CAG’s shortcomings in Stage 2.
After losing the first week, SANDBOX will be anxious to avoid losing any more ground after starting the season with a 7-3 victory over FAV. Given their difficult loss against Talon the previous week, Spear should be easy pickings for them, but they must not undervalue it.
But the second game, between DWG KIA and Talon Esports, will probably be the game of the day. What to anticipate from this game is listed below.
Huge pressure for DWG KIA
For DWG KIA, the second play day was especially damaging. They not only shockingly lost points in just their second stage match (after going 6-0-0-0 in Stage 2), but they also did so against CAG, who are directly competing for a ticket at the November Major.
Only two Major slots are available in each of the APAC North (and South) divisions, and eight teams are vying for each spot. In Stage 2, Jang “RIN” Byeong-uk previously expressed dissatisfaction with the abolition of the APAC Playoffs and said his squad had felt the pressure despite that perfect run up until the penultimate Stage 2 play day.
From this point forward, the pressure will be much greater, and it probably won’t let up until the last Stage 3 play day. While CAG might undoubtedly lose points as they frequently do, DWG will want to maintain control over their own destiny in order to stay in the game and gather steam for their matchup versus SANDBOX on the final day.
Since Talon Esports and DWG are local rivals, victory over them will be essential to those efforts. They have suffered since their pre-Stage 2 modifications, but they remain a threat and may ruin DWG’s ambitions for a major victory before they should if they succeed where DWG fails.
Yass comes back after two weeks break
Last week’s loss to CAG by DWG KIA appeared to be mostly the result of what they did not show, rather than what they did show on the server. The Koreans felt Yoo “yass” Sang-absence hoon’s keenly as all but one CAG member outkilled each DWG player in terms of kills.
For the first two weeks of the game, Yass has been absent from DWG KIA, and there has been no explanation for this. But four days ago, yass’ replacement, team coach Park “PJH” Jae-hyun, revealed on his stream that the squad had resolved its internal problems and he would be returning to the playing roster.
Yass’ absence had no formal or distinct explanation prior to his comeback on September 24, when he and IGL competed in the Korean Open against Beyond Stratos Gaming.
Although SANDBOX has defeated DWG 7-5 in Stages 1 and 2, even with yass playing, the pressure is still on DWG to still qualify for the November Major despite his skill being well-known and crucial.
In 2022, DWG KIA was unquestionably superior to Talon Esports.
Even though Talon has won three games, including a stunning 2-0 victory in Stage 1, that was with their previous lineup before they trimmed and altered it to the one we currently have. Since then, throughout the course of three games, Talon has only prevailed in 12 rounds versus DWG.
However, things are close, particularly since the most recent match at the Korean Open was played just 11 days ago. Yass’ return will make Talon regret their luck, but they still have a chance to upset the apple cart if they can use their map bans correctly and put pressure on DWG when they’re having a bad day.
On the other hand, DWG will feel much more secure now that Yass is back and may be content to take on domestic rivals who aren’t exactly playing their best right now. They can support their claims with historical data and personal experience. They only need to remember to keep their wits about them.